In today's busy world it can even be difficult to stay organized with the person you spend the most time with! Stay organized between spouses w/ these tips!

Joe & I are a busy couple; between long hours at work, decent amount of travel, lots of projects around the house and a new puppy to take care of, we always seem to have a lot going on. Since we’re both constantly on the go, we try to be intentional about keeping coordinated with ‘life stuff’ between the two of us. The system isn’t perfect (is any?), but we’ve found these 6 things help us stay organized!

top 6 ways to stay organized between spouses

1 Calendar Working in an office, we both are glued to our email and calendars for work purposes. We try to replicate that in our personal life. For example, Joe & I only have one car. Living downtown Seattle, this works really well for us, but does take coordination. Anytime one of us knows that we’ll need the car for a future date, we make sure to send the other a calendar invite with the times so that neither will forget. Another common calendar invite on both our calendars is our Thursday night reminder to take out the trash. Without it, we’d be drowning in garbage 🙂 .

2 Clutter Baskets are our miracle cure as it relates to clutter around our house. If either of us sees stuff from the other person sitting out that shouldn’t be, we’re allowed to store in the basket (but no where else). We also then know if we can’t find something, it’s likely in the baskets. Cleaning up a room can now actually be a 5 minute task!

3 Groceries I’m the grocery shopper of our duo and Joe is the cook. While these roles play to our strengths (arr…. mask my weakness in cooking), it requires us to be coordinated. We both use the grocery list app Anylist to coordinate weekly grocery shopping and meal planning. Joe is able to add groceries that he needs to make his fancy meals, while I can add on to the list for the essentials. Regardless of which app or method you use, I highly recommend you having a system to ensure that there’s a joint list for groceries AND needed household items.

4 To Do Lists No one has to force me to make a list, but I didn’t always keep a “Joe” list. I felt kind of silly having a list of things to talk to Joe about. I mean, do I really need to write down conversations to have with him to remember? Well, actually yes, you should write down ALL your to-do items, even if it’s things to discuss with your spouse. For example, asking Joe which dates he wants to travel for our upcoming vacation so that I can book the flights, deciding if we’re going to put a fence in our yard, or selecting a puppy classes to take Reagan to.

5 A Minute a Day I like to spend a couple minutes a day with Joe talking about our schedule for the rest of the week (or the next week).  Now having a puppy, we’re learning to coordinate our schedules to take care of Reagan so chatting about our schedule regularly has been really helpful.

6 Meetings OK, this might sound a little overkill, but bear with me. Once a month we try to spend at least an hour going through ‘house things’. Going through our finances, figuring out vacations for the year, random items from the to-do list that we forget to talk about. It’s not always necessary and we don’t do this EVERY month, but the idea of having a scheduled time to just run through stuff is really helpful. I compare it to being a work and passing a coworker in the hall to discuss work things vs scheduling a meeting in a conference room. Yes, the drive bys are great, but sometimes it’s more productive to schedule a time to discuss. (No I don’t book a conference room for these meetings with Joe 🙂 )

In today's busy world it can even be difficult to stay organized with the person you spend the most time with! Stay organized between spouses w/ these tips!

Any tips that you use to stay organized?!
In today's busy world it can even be difficult to stay organized with the person you spend the most time with! Stay organized between spouses w/ these tips!

 

 

 

This post has been featured in: Girl xoxo & Org Junkie

In today's busy world it can even be difficult to stay organized with the person you spend the most time with! Stay organized between spouses w/ these tips!

 

In today's busy world it can even be difficult to stay organized with the person you spend the most time with! Stay organized between spouses w/ these tips!

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In December Joe & I picked up our 7 week old little doberman girl, Reagan, a couple weeks earlier than originally planned. Fortunately we had done a lot of preparation so we were ready for our adorable (and WILD!) bundle of joy! Here’s our top 10 things that we did to prepare for a new puppy!

Before bringing home your new pup, take a look at our list of the top 10 steps to prepare for a new puppy to be as prepared as you can be!Here’s our top 10 tips to prepare for a new puppy! 

1 Location location location | Decide where all the puppy stuff is going to go. For example, where will your puppy sleep? Where will you bath her? Where will you store all the supplies? Where will her food bowls go? We actually tested out a couple of locations for the food bowls to find a spot that would work!

2 Dog sitter | We took a look at our vacation schedule to decide if there were any trips that we could bring Reagan with us as opposed to others where we would need to get a puppy sitter. We found some great folks to watch Reagan on Rover.com.

3 Puppy classes | My dog training classes have young puppy classes as early as 8 weeks. We found that it was well worth the money to get her in to a puppy class right away as opposed to waiting a couple months. This way we’re encouraging the right behaviors from the beginning. I also had NO idea how to train a dog.

Before bringing home your new pup, take a look at our list of the top 10 steps to prepare for a new puppy to be as prepared as you can be!

4 Off limits rooms | You’ll want to decide what rooms, if any, are off limits. We opted to make the bedrooms off limits or now, possibly allowing at a later time. For us it was easier to only give Reagan partial access to the house. We had to get disciplined with keeping the bedroom doors shut at all times as Reagan has a nack for getting in to things that she shouldn’t!

5 Off limits furniture | On a similar note, will any furniture be off limits? We decided that beds were absolutely off limits, but our family room couch was OK. In fact the family couch is the only ON limits piece of furniture that Reagan is allowed on. Admittedly we initially we against letter her up on the couch, but changed our mind a month in 🙂 .

6 Find a vet | We spent some time researching vets near by to find the best option for us. We not only found a vet but also a dog emergency room that was close by our home. Make sure to call your chosen vet is accepting new patients!

Before bringing home your new pup, take a look at our list of the top 10 steps to prepare for a new puppy to be as prepared as you can be!

7 Schedule | Joe & I sat down to create a daily schedule of puppy duty. Remember that your new puppy is going to need pretty much constant attention. We alternated evenings & mornings AND overnight duty. For the first month or so Reagan needed to be taken outside in the middle of the night so one of us would set an alarm to get up.

8 Puppy food | We reached out to our breeder ahead of time to find out what type of puppy food she will be eating when we pick her up. Even if you want to switch food, you’ll need to have some of their current stuff on hand so that you can make that transition smooth and over the course of at least a week or two.

9 Make a list and check it twice | Before we bought ANYTHING, we compiled a list of everything that we thought we needed. Then we showed a couple of our dog owning friends. Sure enough these friends had some great suggestions to both add to and take off our list.  I made my own list of rather surprising puppy supplies that I would have never thought we needed!

10 Shopping | A couple weeks before we brought home Reagan, we did all the shopping at once. This was more efficient, but also helped us not go crazy buying unnecessary puppy items.

Before bringing home your new pup, take a look at our list of the top 10 steps to prepare for a new puppy to be as prepared as you can be!
Before bringing home your new pup, take a look at our list of the top 10 steps to prepare for a new puppy to be as prepared as you can be!

Some of the links in this list are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend! Thanks for helping support this site!

 

Before bringing home your new pup, take a look at our list of the top 10 steps to prepare for a new puppy to be as prepared as you can be!
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As much as I try to fight it, there’s no getting away from email. So instead of fighting it, I’ve learn to accept it as part of my daily routine and make it work for me. Over the years I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that I live by to keep my email organized.

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

Folders

I have several folders created within my inbox, but there’s 3 that really help me to stay organized. 1) Waiting to hear back: I bcc myself on emails that I really need a response from others on and then move it to this folder. If you don’t bcc yourself on the email, you can simply dig these out of your sent folder. 2) To do next week: I check this folder every Sunday and follow up as needed. These are emails that aren’t urgent and/or will take a while to respond to. If I know an email isn’t going to get responded to this week, I like being able to move it out of my inbox. 3) Confirmations: including flight confirmations, Amazon orders, etc.

Filter, Filter, Filter

As a Gmail user, I use the Promotions & Social filters religiously! If you receive an email that isn’t worthy of going straight to your inbox, but instead is more of a Promotion or Social (think Facebook notification emails), simply drag it over to the Promotion or Social tab and click “yes” to the ‘do this action next time’ pop up.

The 2 Minute Rule

The two-minute rule can really apply to any task you have, including emails. If it can be done in 2 minutes, do it now! It will get off your mind and out of your inbox. Otherwise you’ll likely spend MORE than 2 minutes on the email every time you open your inbox and see that email sitting there. Most emails can be answered in five sentences or less so there’s no reason not to tackle!

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

Schedule

Years ago I read somewhere that the average person checks their email before brushing their teeth in the morning. I thought that sounded ridiculous until I realized that I did that EVERY day! I’m also guilty of being in the car as a passenger or even standing in line at the grocery store while checking email with no intention of replying right then. STOP THIS! It’s wasted time if you’re not able to do anything about the email you’re reading. Yes, I realize some of us have jobs where we need to be reading email at all times, but unless you’re one of those people, grocery line email checking is probably not productive!

Instead, schedule times in your day where you’re going to focus on email. Even if that means 10 minutes every hour to start off with. I started off scheduling 10 times a day (yes 10!) and then was able to move down to 3 specific times a day where I’m focusing on reading & responding to new incoming email.

Turn OFF Notifications

My phone (and ipad) used to light up every time I received a new email and of course I would jump to read it. I’d see the email popup on my ipad while Joe & I were watching TV and spend the entire time wondering what the email was about instead of watching the show. What a waste! Now this is an obvious tip, but turn OFF all those notifications. I don’t even want to know if I have new messages until I actually go into my email account.

Unsubscribe

The last step for organizing your email should be to unsubscribe from emails you don’t want to see. I used to simply delete the emails instead of taking the 30 seconds (or less!) to unsubscribe. I always worried that maybe sometime I’d miss a future email that I really wanted so I wouldn’t unsubscribe. I changed my tune and strongly believe in getting OFF the email lists that are not benefiting you. Yes, you could always just delete the emails when they come to your inbox, but wouldn’t it be nice if you never received them in the first place?

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

May you all see an EMPTY inbox!

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

 

 

 

Is your inbox overwhelming you? It's easier than you think to ruthlessly keep your email organized with these surprising tips & tricks!

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When I first started creating my blog is was much easier said than done. There’s so many options, tools and resources to choose from. Of course I had no idea which to choose from nor what I really needed. For me, it’s been an ongoing learning process … as technology changes, as my blog grows and I offer more to my readers, I constantly have to evaluate the resources I’m currently using. At first I found this completely overwhelming (wordpress.com vs wordpress.org. Seriously. not. the. same. thing. WTF?), but now I find the whole technology piece kind of exciting.

Below is my list of blogging resources that I’m currently using and have found the most success with. I hope this is helpful to all of you current and future bloggers!

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!HOW TO BLOG RESOURCES

Building a Framework: I found Abby’s blog through Pinterest about a year ago and loved her writing style. I first purchased her Starter Package ebook. I was hooked. Her information was so easy to follow and I appreciated that it was written for those who wasn’t tech savvy in the world of blogs. I really resonated with her story of having little confidence in her blog that she didn’t show her friends or family at first. Loved the ebook so much that I upgraded to her Master Package that includes video tutorials (being a visual person, these were super helpful). Added awesome bonus is that whenever she updates her ebooks, I’ll always receive an updated version.

How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul: I learned about Ruth (author) from seeing her online blogging course referenced by so many bloggers, eliteblogacademy.com. The price was a little steep for me and registration wasn’t yet open, so I opted for her book. I can only imagine what the course is like because the book amazing. Every page is filled with great content and tips. No BS filler pages. I could barely take notes because I’d basically be rewriting the book. Yeah, you can say that I’m a fan.

WEB HOSTING / THEMES

Media Temple: This is the only hosting site I’ve used (although there’s MANY to choose from!) and it’s been working great for me so far. I’ve only had to call their customer service a couple times, one for a really stupid question and then one for a really stupid error on my part that turned in to a really technical coding question. Both times they were extremely helpful. I selected Media Temple after some digging on what other bloggers were using and it seems to be the industry standard with medium to large size blogs. I like that it has various packages based on my blog size & page views, which means someone like me who is just starting off can stay with Media Temple as my blog (hopefully) grows. The idea of switching hosting sites doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun Friday night 🙂 . So choose wisely for your hosting site!

Does this sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, it did for me too! I created a step by step guide to help you through setting up your own blog!

Studio Press Genesis Framework: Once you have a hosting site, you’ll need a framework in order to build your site. The Genesis Framework is a very common option and supports ‘responsive themes’, meaning it will look great on mobile devices. Admittedly I didn’t do a lot of research on other frameworks once I realized the popularity of the Genesis Framework (I had no desire to go rouge on something I knew nothing about). It’s popular for a reason!

Pretty Darn Cute Theme: The last piece to the puzzle is your theme. Think of a theme as the aesthetics of your blog. You’ve got our hosting site and framework and now you need to make it pretty. To me, this was the fun part! I’d compare it to going to a party: you’ve got the invite (hosting site), you know the dress code (framework) and now you get to pick your outfit (theme). OK, this is a stretch, but you get the idea. So many of the Pretty Darn Cute themes matched the style I was looking for that it was actually hard to choose (I was going for simple and clean). The tutorials and suggested plug-ins were incredibly helpful to a rookie like me. Also, all these themes are ‘responsive’ meaning it looks great on mobile apps.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Buffer: I use three social media “helpers”. For Twitter I use Buffer, which allows me to draft my tweets in advance and Buffer will then publish them at a future time. I use the free option with allows me to draft up to 10 posts at a time. I can customize WHEN the tweets will post, but I opted to go with Buffer’s suggested times, as I’m NO expert in this field. There’s both an app on web version, but I find myself most often using the web option.

Publish: The second “helper” I use is Publish for Instagram. This also allows you to draft your pics & descriptions ahead of time, yet it will not actually post in your Instagram account for you. Instead it will give you a message on your phone when your pic is scheduled to post. (The inability to post automatically is due to Instagram’s API, not Publish.)

Viraltag: Viraltag is the final helper that I use.  This tool publishes all my posts to Pinterest for me so that I can continually be moving my new and old posts out through my boards and my group boards without spamming everyone with a zillion pins going out at the same time. Admittedly at first, I didn’t think this was necessary (and that I could build some badass spreadsheet to track when and where to push each pin). The reality the only fun part was building that badass spreadsheet because the tedious task of managing so many different posts was beyond ridiculous. The cost is $30 (again I was hesitant), but I became a huge fan.  There’s a 14 day free trial. At minimum, it’s worth trying out for free. Plus if you purchase through my link, you’ll get a $15 credit.

FONTS

Font Bundles: I had always been nervous to venture in to the world of purchasing fonts. Sounds totally confusing, expensive and time consuming. That was until I stumbled upon Font Bundles. From my research, this is pretty much the cheapest & most straight forward way to buy fonts. I like that they offer font packages, meaning I can purchase a group of fonts, sometimes up to 30 or so for roughly $30. This was really beneficial because it allowed me to search through many different fonts to pick which I like best for the given project I’m working on. (I used Font Bundles for my logo) Also, there’s no ‘catch’. Often when purchasing fonts, you’ll have to pay annually and have tons of weird stipulations on when/where you can use the fonts. Font Bundles doesn’t have any of that.

PHOTOGRAPHY

My Camera: I have a Canon PowerShot G16 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera (longest camera name ever). I opted to purchase the bundle back with the tripod and other accessories because the cost was only marginally more and I knew the tripod would come in handy. (It has!) I’m in no way a photography expert, but this camera seemed to be complex but simple enough for me, if that makes sense.

iPhone: admittedly a lot of my pictures just come from my iPhone. I used to think that good photos could never come from a phone, but I’ve been happily surprised on what I’ve been able to do with my iPhone 5S, especially with the built in photo filter options. Plus, the reality is I always forget to take my camera with me. So there’s that 🙂 .

VSCOcam: A step up from just using the standard iPhone filters is the VSCOcam app. A friend introduced me to this when I begged her for her secret in her beautiful facebook photos. My #nofilter hashtag as officially gone out the window.

Picmonkey: This photo editing site also allows me to add wording right on to my photos (think Pinterest Pins). Really nice ‘two for one’! It’s free, but I opted to go with the paid option ($33/year) due to the additional font styles & editing options. I’m barely tipping the iceberg on the functionality of Picmonkey. You’ll definitely want to have a way to edit your photos on your computer and add wording. If you’re already a sophisticated photography, you may need something more advanced. But for a rookie like me, this works perfectly.

PLUG-INS

Akismet: This is a very very popular plug-in for combating spam in your post comments. I forget I even have this plug-in, which means it’s absolutely doing it’s job.

Send Email Only on Reply to My Comment: This sends an email to the person who commented on your blog once you reply to their comment so that they don’t have to remember to continually check your blog to see if you responded. Ummm GENIUS.

Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator: A favicon is the icon associated with a URL that is displayed in the browser bar (don’t worry, I had to google this too). I wanted to change mine from what my Theme provided. Thus mine is now a heart shape. Super easy as you simply upload your new icon into the plug-in.

Genesis eNews Extended: If you’re collecting contact information to do a mailing list/newsletter, I highly recommend this plug-in. I use this at the top of my site. It’s essentially the link between my mailchip (email marketing software) and my site.

JQuery Pin It Button For Images: As we all know Pinterest is king for lifestyle bloggers. So it goes without saying you need to pin your posts. This will create an automatic ‘pin it’ button and link to all your photos. I specifically like JQuery because it was really easy to upload a customized ‘pin it’ button, as I wanted mine to be black and white as opposed to the standard Pinterest red.

PopUp Ally Pro: Popups are a HUGE way to increase your email lists, but also your social media accounts (I’m currently running a popup on my blog asking my visitors to like my Facebook account). PopUp Ally is the industry standard for website popups. They have a free version that’s great. I just recently started paying for their pro version, which provides responsive smart phone popups (aka- the pop up is formatted in a nice version for an iphone user). Since over 80% of my pageviews come from visitors on their smart phones, this was a no brainer for me. PopUp Ally “pro” has a 21 day trial period at no cost, so it’s worth testing out even if you don’t want to pay for it afterwards. Remember, email lists are crucial to blog growth, so make sure you’re collecting those emails from the start!

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!

KEEPING ORGANIZED

So I obviously pride myself on being organized, but let tell you, starting a blog was overwhelming. I think it was all the NEW information and things I needed to research. I’m a paperless gal, so putting all my information and to-do lists in an online form is second nature to me. Personally I’ve been using Evernote for quite a long time (for my day job and personal), so I just added a new ‘notebook’ for blogging. Now starting to use Evernote is NOT for the faint of heart. Totally worth it in my opinion but takes some getting used to. If you’re pretty tech savvy, you can learn it on your own, but a couple of blogging friends of mine have recommended this guide. Microsoft has their version called OneNote. Being from Microsoft homeland (Seattle), I know LOTS of people who swear by OneNote. I had just started using Evernote years ago and got too used to it to try a different option.

Google: To keep my blogging separate (and organized), I created a separate Google account which provided me with an email address (thecrazyorganizedblog{at}gmail{dot}com), Google+ account (which I haven’t done anything with it yet), and calendar. The calendar feature is where I plot out all my future posts so that I make sure I know what will be posted for the coming months. Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE (not as much as I love coffee, but close) their survey feature in Google. I’ve used it for creating surveys for my readers. It’s basic but really easy to use.

EMAIL DISTRIBUTION LIST

MailChimp: I had used MailChimp at work so I was familiar with it and to be honest, at this point I couldn’t handle any new technology.  So by default I went with MailChimp for my newsletter. Later I did do some researching to find out what others were using and fortunately MailChimp seemed to be the leader! Probably because the user interface is really clean and easy. Also, it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers. Once you get more there’s a tier based pricing model, but that’s probably a good problem to have :).

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!This post has been featured in: Inside the Fox Den

Some of the links in this list are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend. And all of the blogging resources above are ones I’m currently using NOW! Thanks for helping support my blog!

 

 

The ultimate list of blogging resources to make sure you're using! Tips & tricks to help you be the best blogger you can be!

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Running out of the house with a coffee in hand, grabbing an apple (or piece of candy!) as I dash out the door on the way to work ….. do you know the feeling?

No matter what time I go to bed at night, I never want to get up any earlier that absolutely necessary, so making a warm breakfast in the morning is completely out of the question. As much as I LOVE my make-ahead-of-time breakfast sandwiches, Joe & I needed to change up our breakfast menu. Wanting to turn our breakfast in to a bloggable project (along with pretty much everything else in our life), I decided to use up all that oatmeal Joe bought months ago in to a months worth of flavorful oatmeal packets.

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

I loved that I was able to make these ahead of time so that we have a quick, yet delicious, breakfast any time and anywhere (easy to make at work).

Ingredients

  • Oats
  • Salt
  • Oat bran
  • brown sugar (optional)
  • Your choice of dried fruit, nuts and chocolate
  • Plastic lunch bags
  • Permanent marker

(After re-reading this post Joe pointed out that lunch bags & markers probably shouldn’t be listed under “ingredients”. Oops!)

Once you have everything pulled out, the first step is to make the plain oatmeal packets. I made a LOT of these (arrr… 30??). Since these aren’t going to go bad anytime soon, I figured I might as well stock up! Simply combine:

  • 1/2 cup 1 minute oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons oat bran (to add fiber)

in to each of your plastic sandwich bags. If you’re someone who likes things a little sweeter, add a teaspoon of brown sugar!

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

Now the fun part starts…..

I pulled out all my dried fruit, nuts and chocolate and CHOPPED them all up in to smaller pieces. Below are some of the ones I chose.

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

Before you start combining your ingredients, make sure to label each of the plastic bags with the ingredients you’re adding. That way they’ll be NO surprises when eating your breakfast. I made the mistake of not labeling before I gave one to Joe for breakfast. He wasn’t exactly thrilled with my banana chocolate chip concoction that I made (it was delicious by the way 🙂 ).

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

Some of my favorite combinations:

cranberry & apricot

banana & chocolate chips

coconut & papaya

cranberries & almonds

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!For the ‘toppings’, I add a small handful into each oatmeal packet (at least 2 tablespoons of each – I don’t skimp on these!).

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

I’m definitely not the biggest health nut, but a nice added bonus of making these as opposed to buying in the store is that these are a lot more healthy & have WAY less sugar in them (assuming you skip my banana and chocolate one)! Another bonus is that you get the exact flavors you want. Ever notice how there’s ALWAYS one packet in the assorted flavors pack that no one likes? (brown sugar & maple syrup anyone??)

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

Simply add 2/3 cup hot water in a bowl with your oatmeal packet.

May you be able to sleep in as long as possible & still have time for a great breakfast!
Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

This post has been featured in: Girl xoxo

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend! Thanks for helping to support this blog! 

 

 

Make a month's worth of breakfast in only 30 minutes with these make-ahead-of-time oatmeal packets tutorial in a variety of flavors!

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Back when I was working in an office I actually hated working from home and rarely took the opportunity. So when I started working from home full time, it was a HUGE adjustment for me. While I always thought I was pretty darn organized, this was new territory for me. I couldn’t concentrate and always felt like I was just ‘hanging out’ although I definitely wasn’t. But once I was more intentional about replicating my ‘in the office’ behaviors, my productivity at home nearly doubled!

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!Here’s what I learned after a month of working from home!

1 Get ready for work right when you get up in the morning, not say …. an hour in to doing work.  Originally I would wake up and start working right away in the morning, but still hadn’t changed out of my pajamas, washed my face or brushed my teeth. I’m not sure that I became more productive by getting ready first, but I definitely felt better!

2 Although I still wear sweats every day during the day, I did opt to wear ‘nicer’ ones that my standard lounging around ‘I should probably throw away they’re so old‘ clothes. It made me feel more put together.

3 We still haven’t gotten blinds in our new townhouse, so in the morning I work in the kitchen because the sunlight hits right on my eyes in the office. Then afternoon I switch to our office. Although not intentional (obviously I should buy blinds!), even when we do get blinds I will still continue this mid day desk switch as it makes for a really nice change of scenery.

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

4 Each night before I go to bed I create a to-do list of the essentials that I need to get done the next day. If you’re someone who’s work allows you to pick and choose what you’re going to do each day, I think this is essential. This also really helps me know when to ‘turn it off’ as there’s ALWAYS work to do. Once I finish the critical items I can then decide how much longer I want to work that day.

5 Each Sunday I spend about 15 minutes planning out my entire week on my Google calendar. I’m talking hour to hour scheduling! Everything gets a calendar invite and everything is planned out in advance. At first it did feel a little odd to plotting out which times I was taking a break to take Reagan (our new puppy) to the dog park or do chores around the house, but it really helped provide structure. This also helped me see exactly how long I was working for. Sometimes when working from home it can seem like you’re ALWAYS working but in reality that wasn’t’ the case for me.

6 Make sure to set boundaries and ensure everyone knows that you’re WORKING from home. It’s always always always nice to help out friends and spouses during the day when you can, but it’s up to you to use your time as productively as possible. Typically when I don’t get enough work done during the day I end up making up for it in the evenings.

Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

7 One of the biggest adjustments in working from home for me was not having coworkers to interact with throughout the day. Not only is it nice to bounce ideas off of someone, it helps to have someone else to chat with periodically to break up the day! Initially I made the rookie mistake of having the TV during the day, just as background noise. Then I started finding myself getting a little too sucked in to the episode (embarrassingly it was Gossip Girl). That’s when I made the switch to listening to music while I work.

8 If you’ll have a schedule where you can decide WHEN you work, it’s a nice perk to be able to take advantage of getting some couple household things done during the day. From experience I can tell you that grocery stores are near EMPTY on Tuesdays at 9am! The consolation may be that you need to adjust your work schedule to do work in the evenings and weekends.  I’d give you the low down on what the gyms look like mid week, but I’m still working on getting that gym membership 🙂 .Working from home can be challenging (but awesome). Implement these top tips to be more productive at while working at home!

 

 

 

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As most of you know I’m a digital organizing type of gal. As much as I love writing down a checklist and the AMAZING feeling of crossing off an accomplished task, it always ends up being more work than it’s worth. The reality is I never have my paper checklist or planner with me when I have the opportunity to use it (in line at the grocery store, at the vet for Reagan, waiting for bus, etc). But what do I have with me that absolutely never leaves my site? My iphone 🙂 .

I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!

I was introduced to LadyPlans last year as the team was preparing for their launch. What perked my interest was the fact that the app has been developed by working moms who need to keep their entire family organized, not just themselves. So they got it…. the balancing of everyone’s calendars, the handling multiple upcoming events, the integrating work and personal life in to one  busy schedule!

Instead of just being ‘another app’, LadyPlans actually takes the place of several apps I had on my phone (grocery list, calendar, vacation planner, to-do list). So when it launched this year, I downloaded it immediately! This simple switch from using 4 different apps to LadyPlans has helped me get more organized than I could have imagined.

This was really important for me, not only because it’s annoying to switch from app to app to keep me organized throughout the day, but also because I take a ridiculous amount of photos on my phone. I’m always getting that dreaded “out of room” popup. So if I’m able to cut down the number of apps on my phone, then that means more room for photos!

Included in the FREE LadyPlans app are the following:I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!

  1. Event Makers to quickly add events in your calendar
  2. Planners to anticipate and plan events requiring preparation
  3. All your Calendars in one place
  4. Useful ready-made Checklists

Before I give you a step-by-step on how to utilize all these features, here’s some tips of how I organize all my to-dos:

  • Each week I look through my to-do list to determine what needs to be accomplished that week. I then put these ON my calendar at the appropriate time. It ensures that I stick to them!
  • I organize by to-do list based on things I can do ‘at home‘, ‘on my computer‘, ‘to call’, ‘out & about‘ and ‘later on‘. This way my to-do items are organized with like items. For example, if I’m on my computer to book a flight, I can also pay my bills online.
  • In addition I have a list of items that I do daily, weekly, and monthly. For example: paying bills is coded as ‘monthly’ and ‘on my computer’.
  • Always break your tasks down to the most granular level. Instead of have a to-do such as ‘plan dinner party’, I list the each of the tiny steps needed

I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!

As I mentioned above, LadyPlans has 4 key components that are integrated seamlessly in to the app. I want to give you a brief description of each of these so that you understand the HUGE HUGE HUGE value of combining all these components in to ONE app!

Event Makers

The Event Maker helps you quickly add new entries in to your calendar. Remember that LadyPlans helps you organize & manage ALL parts of your life, so these events don’t have to be just for you! Create events for your kids, spouse, home items and holidays/celebrations. When you create a calendar entry through the Event Makter the ‘who’ & ‘what’ fields are automatically populated. All you have to fill in is the date & times.  Checklists & reminders can also be added to all these event markers right on to your calendar. BRILLIANT.I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!

Planners 

Planners are for planning events that require preparation, so these are the events that you’re hosting (or involved with) as opposed to events that you’re just attending. Not only does the Planner have a checklist for to-do items, the long list of checklist items are PRE-POPULATED in the order in which you would likely want to accomplish. AMAZING. (You can totally add more, edit or delete.) But that’s not actually the most impressive part. The absolute coolest part is that the due date recommendations automatically calculate based on the event date. Planning a birthday party? Bachelorette party? Pregnancy calendar? LadyPlans has you covered!

The planner section is also where you’ll store a birthday list (which will also populate to your calendar).

Have you ever put together a list to prepare for the holidays? Then fast forward to next year and you have to recreate that list AGAIN knowing you probably missed a couple things? Yep, I have too. Fortunately the Planner can hold those checklists so that you can use it year after year! No more recreating the wheel. LOVE that.

I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!Calendar

So I love the Event Maker & Planner, but I LIVE by my calendar! I’ve come to realize that adding my to-do list into my calendar forces me to stay accountable for what I need to get done. Fortunately the Event Maker, Planner & Checklists sync seamlessly to the calendar. SCORE.

I know what you’re thinking …. but I ALREADY have a calendar that I’ve put TONS of events in to. Don’t worry at all. You can sync your calendar (Google, icloud or Outlook) straight to LadyPlans so that you no longer have to toggle back and forth.I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!

Checklists 

No organizing app would be complete without a checklist. The Checklist feature connects to the Event Maker & Planner for a really seamless effect. LadyPlans also takes it a step further. Their checklist ALREADY has items in it! What?!? As a self declared master of creating a fabulous checklist, I still love the idea that LadyPlan helps do part of the work. Their pre-populated checklists are based on common events and lists that a busy gal will need. Think beyond a grocery list (although they do have one of those!) to school supplies and planning for a new baby to cleaning routines.

There’s even a checklist of items to do before you leave on vacation and we’re talking really granular items…. even “toss fresh flowers”.

And of course you can create your own lists too!

For each list you’re able to ‘reset’ once you’ve finished so that you can use it for next time, which is PERFECT for weekly grocery shopping.I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!

May you now have LESS apps and be MORE organized!

I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app! Thank you LadyPlans for sponsoring this post!

I recently learned that there's one app that can not only do the work of 4, but do it BETTER. LadyPlans gets you more organized in a single app!

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Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

If you walk in to any pet store, you’ll immediately spot out the basics – cage, food, leash, toys, etc. The stores are filled with everything you could possibly need for your new puppy! And a lot of things you could probably live without 🙂 . Prior to bringing home our little doberman girl, Reagan, I scouerd the isles off all the local pet stores trying to decide amongst the zillions of products that all seemed necessary to a new puppy mom! Fast forward 2 months I realized that there were a several surprising puppy supplies I wish I would have had prior to bringing her home.

The essential list of puppy supplies

Click on any of the images below for details on the product.

Now here’s why I chose each of these …

1 Old towels for bedding | We initially purchased a comfy bed for Reagan, which she promptly chewed right through! Embarrassingly, the switch to towels didn’t occur until she had destroyed TWO beds. Once she gets a little older, and a lot less destructive, we’ll move back to giving her a real bed. For now, the towels are working pretty well.

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

2 House training door bell | Our dog sitter recommended this after babysitting Reagan shortly after we got her. The concept is that your puppy will literally ‘ring the bell’ when she has to use the bathroom. Surprisingly Reagan caught on to this so quickly. The consolation was that the bell rings so often that I think I hear it in my sleep! I chose to get the white one to blend in to our door so it wasn’t SO noticeable.

Training Clicker | Per the recommendation of our puppy training class we purchased a couple training clickers and kept them by our sides at all times. It was a lot of work at the beginning, but repeatedly ‘clicking’ for good behavior expedited her training. Similar to the doggy door bells, I can also hear ‘clicks’ in my sleep!

4 Harness | Reagan was a stubborn little puppy right from the beginning so her collar just wasn’t enough. The harness was SOOO incredibly helpful in training her to go on walks.

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

5 Water gun | I think Joe & I had a little too much fun with this one! We used the water gun to help train Reagan. She’d get a squirt every time she jumped up on the counters & beds. She got so much water that it almost counted as a bath!

6 Lots and LOTS of poop bags | Although I don’t know how many diapers a newborn baby goes through daily, I’m convinced that Reagan could rival any baby with her poop bags. I was pleasantly surprised that this one also came with a dispenser to put on her leash for easy use.

7 Baby gate | Probably Reagan’s least favorite item on this list, but it was a life saver. We opted for both a dog pen (below) and a simple baby gate for our stairs. Reagan did chew the wood baby gate a little, so a metal one might have been better. Yet for the cheap price, I’m still glad I got the wooden one.

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

8 Basket for toys | Puppy toys are now consuming our entire family room! We tried to store these in a nice cotton basket, but Reagan assumed the basket WAS the toy and chewed completely through it. I then opted for an old popcorn tin that I transformed into this fun DIY project.

Long leash | I really appreciated that we purchased this long leash early on before Reagan was old enough to go to a dog park. We would take her to open field areas and let her run around, letting out some of that puppy energy. I know that a lot of people take their puppies off leash, but I just get too nervous that Reagan will run. Everything and anything catches her eye and distracts her. (last week she went CRAZY barking at a plastic bag blowing in the air 🙂 ).

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

10 ‘Smart’ toys | When I first got Reagan I had NO idea what a smart toy was. I mean I’m not planning on sending Reagan to Harvard or anything. But apparently a smart toy is one that will keep her entertained and stimulated for a while. Regardless if she gets any smarter, I’m down with that!

11 Puppy Coat | In Seattle not only is a winter coat essential, so is a rain jacket 🙂 . Joking aside, dobermans are somewhat sensitive to cold weather and Reagan would shiver when outside at night so a puppy coat was worth it. I got a bigger size for her as she’s growing like crazy and I new she would grow in to it before the season was over (she also actually grew OUT it during that season too!).

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

12 Rope toys | We held off on giving Reagan bones while she was a puppy as she had a lot of tummy problems at the beginning. I had no idea the hour and HOURS of tug of war I was in for with these toys though!

13 Food storage container | Although not absolutely essential, I liked putting her food into a clear storage container as opposed to having the bags and bags of dog food sitting around. Whether storing the food in the kitchen or in a closet, it just looks better in a plastic container. This one also came with a food scooper too.

14 Food bowl tray | After using a cheap flimsy mat to put Reagan’s food on, I ended up purchasing this tray. It was much more sturdy and had higher sides to prevent all the water spills that Reagan makes! Once I noticed our wood floor starting to warp from Reagan’s play time (aka – eating time), I knew we needed to switch to something more durable.

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

Now for a RARE glimpse at Reagan quietly napping 🙂 .

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

Any other surprising puppy essentials that I missed?
Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend! Thanks for helping support this site!

 

 

Make sure to check out this list of surprising puppy supplies before your new puppy comes home! Make sure to check out #5!

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